Win7 Library Tool

Windows 7 libraries are a really useful feature of Windows 7, however unfortunately they arrive in a slighly cut-down form out of the box. Microsoft decided against exposing some really useful capabilities to users, like adding network locations, pretty much the first thing I tried to do. You get this message:

Luckily, you can add network locations (and any other un-indexed locations), but it must be done programatically. MS supply a command line utility slutil.exe, candidate for the worst named executable in history. Pretty sure it stands for shell_library_util. Anyway, I decided to write a tool to make it easy to add network locations, and added a few other features as well:

  • Add network (UNC or mapped drive) and any other un-indexed folders to libraries.
  • Backup library configuration, such that a saved set of libraries can be instantly restored at any point (like after a re-install of the OS or for transfer between multiple computers).
  • Create a mirror of all libraries (using symbolic links) in [SystemDrive]:\libraries. This means you can reference all your files using a much shorter path, and also provides another entry-point to your files in many places in the Operating System (e.g. file open/save dialogs).
  • Change a library’s icon.

Hopefully it’s easy enough to use, so I don’t have to explain it 🙂

You can download it for free below. (Note: This will only run on >= Windows 7.)

Download Installer | Source Code

I must give credit to Josh Smith for his TreeView CodeProject article, upon which this solution is modelled.

The application uses the Microsoft API CodePack to manipulate libraries, which I encourage you to check out if you are writing software to integrate / take advantage of new features in Windows 7.

If you want to learn why and how libraries were introduced in Windows 7, including diving into the .library-ms file format, you can read this MSDN article.

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